Farm in PRP sending thousands of pounds of mint to Churchill Dow - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Farm in PRP sending thousands of pounds of mint to Churchill Downs for mint juleps

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A local farm is packing up the final delivery of mint for Churchill Downs.

Dohn and Dohn Gardens provides all the mint for the track’s iconic Derby drink, the mint julep, which debuted at the Derby in the 1930s.

Now, the Old Forester Mint Julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby.

“If you really want to have a true mint julep, you need to put a sprig of mint in it,” said Bill Dohn, owner of Dohn and Dohn Gardens, which has supplied the track's mint for more than 30 years.

Dohn said it’s a lot of work, but he loves the local connection he has to Derby.

“I like to be a part of the whole event,” he said. “It’s one of those things I’m going to hate quitting someday. You know, you don’t do this forever. But I do like being a part of it.”

Dohn’s ten-acre farm is tucked away in a quiet neighborhood in Pleasure Ridge Park. Each year, he will cut about one-and-a-half acres of mint in the field and a quarter of an acre inside a greenhouse to provide to the track.

Every year, almost 120,000 mint juleps are served at Churchill Downs between Oaks and Derby. To make that happen, bartenders will empty more than 10,000 bottles of the ready-to-serve Old Forester Mint Julep cocktail. And then to top it all off, they must use 4,000 pounds of mint.

To get the job done, Dohn explained he and a team of about a dozen workers will cut and packaged the mint for two to three hours every day for about two weeks leading up to Derby.

First, they cut the mint by hand in bunches, which is about 15 stalks. Those bunches are packed into bins. Then, in the market shed, a dozen bunches are tied together, washed, packed and refrigerated.

Kyle Kittle comes to work for Dohn after school. He said he’ll probably cut 50 dozen bunches a day.

“I hope they enjoy it," Kittle said. "It took a lot of work to get it all there.”

Dohn has already delivered the amount of mint he provides each year to Churchill Downs, but he said leaders at Churchill Downs just asked for more. So on Thursday, workers were preparing one final delivery to arrive at the track Friday.

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